December 07, 2010
Aspirin Cuts Solid Tumor Cancer Deaths

Low dose aspirin is found to cut cancer deaths.

Many Americans take aspirin to lower their risk of heart disease, but a new study suggests a remarkable added benefit, reporting that patients who took aspirin regularly for a period of several years were 21 percent less likely decades later to die of solid tumor cancers, including cancers of the stomach, esophagus and lung.

So should we take low dose aspirin? Keep in mind that aspirin also increases bleeding risks. Well, this reminds me of another recent study which found that brain microbleeds are highly prevalent in aging brains. It seems very plausible to expect aspirin to increase the risk of these microbleeds.

A small amount of bleeding in the brain seems to be common among older individuals, according to a UC Irvine study.

Neurologist Dr. Mark Fisher and neuropathologist Dr. Ronald Kim found that cerebral microbleeds are highly prevalent in the aging brain – and not primarily products of stroke-related injury, hypertension or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as had been thought.

“Prior work relied on brain imaging to show cerebral microbleeds,” Fisher said. “But in this study, deep regions of the brain were closely examined under a microscope, and nearly all subjects had evidence of small areas of bleeding.”

It is hard to know whether taking some drug for years will cut all cause mortality. Aspirin cuts prostaglandin production and lowers inflammation. But there are non-aspirin ways to cut inflammation. So I wonder whether aspirin delivers protective benefits even for people who eating ideal diets and getting enough exercise. Can we get the same benefits while avoiding aspirin's risks?

We probably need good measures of the level of our body's inflammation and then to try various dietary and lifestyle practices to get it down. But is that sufficient to cut cancer risks as much as aspirin does?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 December 07 10:49 PM  Aging Drug Risk Cutting

Lou Pagnucco said at December 8, 2010 9:57 AM:

The study found that all-cause mortality was reduced 10%, but I'm not sure whether hemorrhagic strokes increased.

If my memory is correct - certain flavonoids, tnf-alpha blockers (e.g., enbrel), tetracycline derivatives, and (maybe) ACE-inhibitors reduce occurrence of aneurysms by protecting the integrity of vascular walls. The blood-brain-barrier is permeable to some of these.

Reducing blood pressure should help reduce the risk too, of course.

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